Is exercise good when sick

It may not sound fun to exercise while you are sick, although a myth claims that you can sweat out an illness through exercise. Is exercise good when sick?

Although this may not be true, it may be helpful to exercise while you are sick in some cases. In general, a person with symptoms, such as those with a cold, may benefit from exercising. However, a person with symptoms in the chest or abdomen or fever should refrain from exercising. If the symptoms get worse or exercise causes pain, people should avoid exercising while they are sick.


It is usually okay to exercise with typical symptoms of a cold in the head. These include symptoms such as:

  • nasal congestion
  • runny nose
  • bloated or red eyes
  • tension headache

Consider that different exercises can cause different reactions in the body. Avoid highly strenuous exercise while you are sick. Instead, an individual should focus on lighter, movement-based activities that make the blood flow without pushing the body too hard.

These activities may include:

  • walking
  • light jogging
  • easy cycling
  • swimming
  • tai chi
  • gentle yoga

Can you “sweat out” disease?

To sweat out illnesses through exercise is a myth, and it may have been there for so long because regular exercise keeps the body healthy and can strengthen the immune system.

However, a 2018 study found, moderate exercise can reduce the risk of common respiratory illnesses, reduce the severity and even shorten how long the person has symptoms. Mild exercise can also temporarily help with some symptoms, such as a runny nose or headache.


As a general rule, people should avoid exercise if they experience tightness in the chest. For example, fever is a clear sign that a person should not exercise. Fever reduces muscle strength, increases fluid loss, and makes a person feel exhausted. Fever also means that the body raises its internal temperature to fight infection, and exercise raises body temperature and makes a person feel even worse. This sign of illness can cause a person to become dizzy or unbalanced, posing a risk if they exercise. People who experience dizziness should perhaps avoid exercising until they get better.

Symptoms in the chest are another sign that it is best to avoid exercising. These symptoms may include:

  • tightness in the chest
  • difficulty breathing
  • reap

Finally, it is vital to rest even if you only have mild symptoms but feel weak or unable to exercise.

The exercise you should avoid when you are sick

Some activities may not be suitable for the body while a person is ill. The body tries to recover, and pushing it too hard can worsen the symptoms or recovery time.

Exercise to avoid while you are sick includes:

  • sprint
  • strength training with heavyweights
  • running for long periods or other endurance activities
  • strenuous yoga
  • spinning classes
  • pilates
  • team sports

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